A TEDx event – featuring a lineup of all-female speakers – will take over Sneaky Big’s 4,000-square-foot studio in northern Scottsdale for TEDxScottsdaleWomen.
Kelly Sallaway is head organizer of the TEDx event, which takes place on Friday, Nov. 30, at 5:30 p.m. – the same weekend as TEDWomen 2018 in Palm Springs, California.
This was a strategic move on Sallaway’s part.
“I realized that this was just a really neat set that we could do at the same time in our own community,” Sallaway said.
The theme of both the national and Scottsdale event is “showing up” – and Sallaway saw that women did just that.
To start, women supported other women in a big way when the organizers announced its call for speakers.
“I started asking friends and every single one of the speakers that I got came recommended from another woman,” Sallaway said.
Krystle Delgado, a professional musician, pop singer and attorney, is one of 11 speakers chosen for TEDx.
“When Kelly called me and said it was an all-women lineup, I was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’” Delgado said. “It’s so up my alley as far as female empowerment, doing it yourself, not winning for anyone to make any kind of opportunity, whether you’re a business leader or musician, in my case.”
Delgado, who owns her own law firm representing musicians, artists, filmmakers and labels in multiple states, will discuss “keeping your dukes up.”
“What I’ve learned [as an independent artist and business owner] and those rules I’ll discuss during that process is applicable to any business owner, to anyone who’s trying to make it on their own,” Delgado said. “So when I say ‘dukes up,’ I mean the very literal keeping your arms, your dukes up and fighting for your dreams.”
Once speakers were chosen, each presented and practiced their talks to a room full of women that included organizers, volunteers, coaches and other speakers.
“It was fantastic because even not really knowing everybody in the room, getting critical feedback was very helpful and it’s for nothing else to help each speaker grow and to do a better job,” Delgado said.
Each speaker is given 10 minutes for their talk, and Sallaway and her team were very hands-on with the speakers leading up to the event.
“Putting your idea and putting it forward and memorizing it and being able to deliver it to people, we didn’t just leave that to them,” she said. “The speaker development takes a lot more time than people would think.”
Curating a well-rounded lineup of speakers and ideas was important to Sallaway, who explained, “When you’re sharing ideas, you want a variety, and to get that variety, you want to put that out to people who maybe haven’t had a chance to share theirs before.”
The diverse speaker lineup includes an international speaker (Sharon Lechter), a professional mechanic (Bogi Leitner), a 14-year-old entrepreneur (Aleena Valdez) and an opera singer (Miriam Schildkret).
“Just reading the bios that are available on the website, it’s a very impressive lineup of women,” Delgado said.
One speaker Delgado is especially excited to watch is Sadhna Bokhiria, a professor and researcher who will focus on stand-up comedians and what can be learned from them.
“When I gave the trial run of my presentation, [Bokhiria] was just so lovely, and a couple of these women just gave me some really great feedback,” Delgado said.
It may sound like this TEDx event was a smooth process from start to finish, but Sallaway had her fair share of obstacles.
Sallaway’s two biggest challenges were time and money.
“You have to raise your own money, and everything in TED is 100 percent volunteer-based,” Sallaway said. “All of the people, all of the speakers, that are organizing are volunteers. Nobody’s getting paid. It’s like having another job.”
The planning paid off.
“We opened up sales in September, and by October, it was sold out,” Sallway said. “People were so excited about having a TEDx women’s event.”
“I’m really impressed at how much effort that everyone has put into this,” she added. “The organizers and the speakers really feel like we’ve all been in the trenches – because we’ve been working on this for a few months.”
While TEDx talks can take place anywhere – in spaces as small as coffee shops, even – Sallaway knew TEDxScottsdaleWomen needed to be bigger, flashier.
“It’s supposed to reflect your community, so our event is a little bigger and shinier than any of the ones I’ve ever seen,” she said.
Delgado hopes to inspire attendees with her talk.
“With my presentation, I’m just hoping that I can touch on the nerve of someone who is scared to make a decision in their life – and literally that night make that decision they’ve been scared to do,” Delgado said. “I hope it gives them courage, motivation they need to impact their own lives.”